May 29, 2014

A Response to "Why I don't do Crossfit."

There was an article going around social media this week entitled "Why I don't do Crossfit."

It bothered me, obviously.
Because as you probably know by now I'm a pretty avid crossfit lover.

The author, Erin Simmons, actually gives some potentially valid reasons for why she doesn't do crossfit. They're the reasons I've heard a thousand times before- you'll get hurt, trainers aren't well qualified, crossfitters don't know when to stop...

Like I said, I completely agree that some of these could potentially be valid arguments, but these could be potential arguments for any form of fitness. I guarantee there are many coaches and personal trainers out there who have no idea what they're teaching and if you let your ego get in the way in any physical activity you probably won't stop which can result in an injury.

But instead of arguing with Miss Simmons (who includes in her author bio that she is getting her PhD in fisheries- did you know that's a thing?), I'm going to tell you all the reasons why I do crossfit:

I do Crossfit because I used to be a wimp.
I could probably end right there if I wanted to. Seriously. I had literally never touched a free weight in my life. My hotspot in the gym was the cinema room where I could get two things done at once: watch "Legally Blonde" and run for an hour. I would have never ever considered myself to be an athlete nor did I ever think I would be one. Crossfit has turned me into an athlete. It has taught me to deadlift, squat, clean, snatch, run, pistol, hand stand push up and all of those other wonderfully awesome things. And when I say Crossfit has taught me all of this- I of course mean my amazing, well trained coaches who continue to get certifications and training so that they can teach me in the best and safest way possible. 

I do Crossfit because my body can.
After crossfitting for about a year and a half, it is an understatement to say that I am amazed at what my body can do. Before I go on, I'm not saying any of this to brag about myself, I'm just telling you what Crossfit has done for me that no other form of exercise has done for me. I look at the weights I was lifting even 3 months ago and am in awe of what I have accomplished, and what the human body in general can accomplish. I like knowing that in a lot of workouts, I can hang right along with the guys. I like knowing that because of the training I've put in at Crossfit, I can pick up and run 8 miles when it's been months since my last long distance run. And mostly I like knowing that if I were to be in the Hunger Games, I could maybe hang with Katniss for a bit since I wouldn't be the first person out.  The quote "Most people have no idea how good there body is designed to feel" is so incredibly true. Before Crossfit, I had no idea how good my body was designed to feel, but now that I have a glimpse of that I'm going to keep pushing because I can.
I do Crossfit because it challenges me.
One of the arguments that the author makes in her article is that the Crossfit workouts are too "high intensity." Your mom's too high intensity  

Crossfit is not the first high intensity that has ever been done, people. Your body really can handle it, and you'll be amazed at how far you can push yourself. Erin points out people pushing themselves that hard shouldn't be done. Do you know what I think shouldn't be done? Going weeks, months, or even years without working out. Not wanting to walk into the weight room because you're intimidated. Making excuses. Not bettering yourself and the God-given body that you have. Taking your health for granted. That's what I think shouldn't be done. So if Crossfit or any other form of exercise is going to get someone out of that rut that is so easy to fall into, then who are you to say that it's a "wrong way" of improving their health and life? 

And just a side note- Crossfit style workouts are very common for military personnel and law enforcement agencies. If these high intensity workouts are good enough for them, they're better than good enough for me.

I do Crossfit because it has taught me to embrace my body.
This quote is kind of cheesy but it really is so true to how I feel. When I started Crossfit, it was all about the goals I had for what I wanted my body to look like. Now instead of thinking on a daily basis about my body image, I think more about what I can to better improve my body for it's strength and health, and not necessarily it's image. I eat foods not because they'll help me maintain my weight, I eat them because they'll fuel my body to help me perform better at the gym. Having a mindset like this has been much healthier for me mentally. Your body wasn't given to you simply to be attractive to others. Your body was given to you to be and do. Crossfit has completely changed the way I look at and treat my body. 

"Regardless of what you look like, or what you think you look like, you can feel good about yourself because you are not your appearance. Your body is an instrument you can use for good, not an object to be admired. Believing this is life-changing. Our culture teaches us to constantly picture ourselves from an onlooker's perspective and to gauge our worth based on what we and others think about our looks. This hurts us. This limits our ability to fully experience life and contribute good to a world that needs us – not just a pretty vision of us – but ALL of us. When we learn to recognize the ways a fixation on looks gets in the way of us doing anything more important, we can consciously push back. Want to have positive body image? Experience your body as an instrument instead of an object by using it! Swim, dance, run! Your body is an amazing instrument for your benefit, and not a burden in need of judging and fixing. THAT is Beauty Redefined."  
(This quote comes from one of my favorite organizations "Beauty Redefined.")

I remember I was talking to my trainer Mandi and one of our friends from the gym about bodies and body types. My friend was saying how she was jealous of her sister because she was stick thin, yet she never worked out. Mandi asked her "Yeah, but what can she do?" That was over a year ago and that question really changed my way of thinking. My body is for doing.

And if you're still one of those girls that is convinced that lifting will make you huge (don't worry I used to be one too), you're wrong.

I do Crossfit because I have the best group of friends that do it right along with me.
The term "Crossfit Family" is pretty cheesy but if you know me, I love cheesy and I love people so I'm all about it. I recently told someone that when there are days that I don't have the motivation to go to the gym, the thing that gets me there is that I want to see my friends. So I go, and then I workout, and then I talk a lot. My life story.

There's nothing like the encouragement, friendship and camaraderie you'll find in a Crossfit gym, and Clint and I have met some of our very closest friends because of it.
and working out with this guy isn't too shabby. 

I do Crossfit because I don't care that you don't like it.
I can honestly say Crossfit is one of the greatest things I have ever done for myself, and I think most Crossfitters would say the same thing. We like getting stronger, we like the daily improvement, we like the friendly competition, we like the occasional pain, and we like talking about Crossfit nonstop. Get over it. (I would have said that nicer if I could have. but seriously.)

I don't go writing an entire article bashing other forms of fitness because bettering yourself is bettering yourself- however you choose to do it; running, yoga, at home workout videos, or even bicep curls in the mirror at Gold's Gym for a solid 45 minutes. That's your health and I don't have any place to say you're doing it wrong and neither does anyone else.

So with that, I'm off to Crossfit. Peace out haters.


May 11, 2014

then and now: real life grown up friendships.

A few months into living in Texas, I wrote this post about real life grown up friendships. 

If you haven't read it, just do.
If you have, maybe you want to read it again to remind yourself of my desperation.

To sum the post up, I wrote about how I didn't know the rules of grown up friendships, if/when hugs, sharing clothes, and slumber parties were appropriate, and other concerns about how finding grown up bffs is a lot harder than at age 6 when you would bond over the fact that you had matching pigtails. 

I specifically remember the series of events that made me post about this dilemma. I had met a group of 3 girls at the gym and they were best friends.

This could have turned out "Mean Girls" style but it didn't. so read on.

They were all around my age, had similar interests, and I just knew they were golden. I legitimately remember calling my mom and telling her that I had some potential friendships on the horizon.

Shoutout to my creepiness.

Anyway. That friendship post from over 2 and a half years ago came about as I thought about how I wanted to be friends with these 3 girls. I wasn't quite sure how to go about forming this grown up friendship. I didn't want to intrude on their little group, but at the same time  actually who am I kidding? I totally wanted to. Especially when Gabby came dressed up as Oscar Meyer Bologna to our Halloween workout. That really sealed the deal right there, so thanks Blu. [I also want to take this time to publicly declare that the spelling of bologna freaks me out. As if bologna wasn't creepy enough by itself already.]
Then one day, all my wildest dreams came true when they asked me to hang out. I don't even remember what we did, but I can tell you that I met parts of my heart that day. They're my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in real life. Actually we're kind of opposite. Life lead us all to each other in this little town, instead of life leading us in opposite directions. We also don't share any pants.

Rebecca our little Philadelphia beach lover is about living in and appreciating that moment in life and I just adore her for better teaching that to me. She's our adventurous soul with killer arms. Jill has the biggest and sweetest heart in the world and loves everyone. She's our little independent French gypsy who is from Maine and doesn't have family here, but stays because she's grown to love and embrace it. Gabby is constantly making us laugh (obvi. Have you seen someone deadlifting in a bologna costume?) and is our tour guide of Texas to show us all the greatest things about this place. Not to mention her amazing parents have adopted us since we are all orphans to Texas with families far away.

It's no coincidence that I've met these beautiful souls. Rebecca and I were talking the other day about how she had prayed that she would find people like us while she was here, and I had done the exact same thing time and time again. It's crazy to think that we are all from different parts of the country, but life lead us here.
Gabby posted this picture a couple of months back. This is us in 2012, 2013, and then 2014. I didn't even realize the top picture existed, or that we stood next to each other for the picture. It's funny to think about what our friendship has become since then. 

There's just something to be said about friendships, and finding the right people wherever you go; about  allowing yourself to open up and find people who love like you do, who share similar values despite growing up in different states, cultures and religions. There's something to be said about bologna costumes, rollerblading, horseback riding and trying new places and things with the very best of people. I've said it before, but there really is such a thing as soulmate friends. ♥